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The Last Farewell

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These Los Angeles, CA.-based musicians started out as a jam-based unit. Eventually, their shedding spawned this debut release, Last Farewell, produced by renowned Yellowjackets'

bassist Jimmy Haslip. Here, the bassist lends his expertise on a few tracks to complement guest appearances by Brazilian singer, Flora Purim, and her husband, percussionist Airto Moreira, among others. To that end, The Shapes convey a hip, contemporary jazz vibe augmented by a keenly integrated country slant on certain tracks. Tollak Ollestad's chromatic and blues harp performances fuse a distinct sense of Americana into the set, which also consists of lilting samba grooves and breezy jazz-based arrangements. In addition, Ollestad plays keyboards, while Haslip's fellow Yellowjackets' pianist Russell Ferrante performs on the piece titled, "Night Bloom."

The radiant sonic characteristics provide an overall sheen to this nicely produced set. On the number titled "Night Bloom," Purim's lighter-than-air vocalizing elicits notions of a remote, tropical paradise, as the band initiates a lustrous samba motif. But the ensemble mixes it up rather nicely, where the soloists' render briskly executed swing vamps amid melodically tinged themes. Besides, this outfit succeeds at dispelling the occasional prejudices associated with commercially oriented, radio friendly jazz, where the musicians' collective, and widely accessible methodologies highlight the superior level of musicianship displayed from within. And despite the album title's implications of finality, this sextet will apparently continue onward with subsequent projects.

The Last Farewell, Shapes
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